Top 21 Live Streaming Platforms of 2022
Live video streaming can be a very profitable avenue, but first, you have to pick the best live streaming platform to help you achieve your goals. I’ve ranked and reviewed the top 21 live streaming platforms in this article and shortlisted the top 5 recommendations.
IBM Cloud Video
You’ve done your research and you’ve made your decision: live video streaming is the way to go and you intend to make it your next platform or source of income.
There’s just a little thing you have to do first: picking the best live streaming platform that can help you best achieve your goals.
The only problem is, there are many of these streaming services around and you can’t just hop on the first one you see and think you’ve found the perfect software.
Trying to choose the right tool can be a daunting task, especially when you know you have to be objective and informed about your decision.
In this article, we’ve made things a lot easier by rounding up the top live streaming platforms and reviewing them based on the quality of their solutions.
We’ve also pointed out the features to look out for and added some useful knowledge for first-time streamers.
It’s all a wealth of vital information to look forward to, but first, let’s be very clear about what a live streaming platform is:
What is A Live Streaming Platform?
The term is quite self-explanatory; a live streaming platform is a tool that lets you broadcast live videos to an audience. It could be in the form of a website, application, or software.
A standard live streaming service provider would have a couple of essential features to complement video hosting. These include tools for embedding, video content management, analytics, and importantly for professionals, monetization.
Whether as a professional, a business, or as a hobbyist, there are a couple of reasons you could do live streaming and these include: engaging with your target audience or community, building awareness for your brand, or generating leads for sales.
Best Live Streaming Platform Comparison (And Pricing)
For your convenience, we’ve done tons of research and made a comprehensive review of the 21 best live streaming platforms based on their features, pros, cons, and pricing.
You’re sure to find a tool with features and pricing (some are free) that match your needs and budget.
Best Live Streaming Platform For Growing Businesses And Enterprises
I love Dacast because it's applicable as either a small business software or as an enterprise solution. Built on standard HTML5 functionality, the software pairs with powerful CDNs to provide powerful live event and VOD streaming.Try Dacast
Dacast is a popular live streaming solution for professionals, businesses, and nonprofits. The service offers a range of features that set it apart from social streaming services like Facebook and Youtube Live.
For companies and professionals looking to build their brand and monetize their online videos, Dacast is an ideal option.
Not only does the video streaming platform offer live streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) hosting, it’s also equipped with features that allow users to control and personalize their online video content, real-time or not.
- White Labeling: Available on all plans, this feature lets users customize their videos, interface, and landing pages with their brand signals, including colors, fonts, and logos.
- High-Quality Streaming: Partnering with powerful CDN (content delivery network) services like Limelight and Akamai, Dacast offers seamless and fast broadcasting for high-quality videos.
- HTML5 Functionality: The streaming is based on standard HTML5 technology to ensure minimal latency, which translates to a faster and uninterrupted experience for viewers. With the HTML5 video players, you can embed your video on any website.
- Analytics: With a dashboard that provides advanced video analytics, users can analyze the performance of their videos and streams as well as their audience engagement.
- Monetization: Dacast has inbuilt tools and an integrated paywall that lets creators and businesses monetize their online video content. It also supports subscriptions, advertising, and pay-per-view for VOD.
- Security: With HTTP live streaming (HLS) encryption and password-protected hosting, the tool keeps your content and streams safe from being hacked or compromised. You can also set domain restrictions.
- Gallery: The software lets you display your top videos in a professional gallery as well as create monetizable Expo pages to showcase your live content.
- Dacast has a Starter plan that is billed annually at a rate of $39 per month. This plan supports the broadcasting of videos with 1080p HD quality.
- There’s a Scale plan meant for growing businesses and organizations. Billed at $188 per month, it gives users access to unlimited channels and advanced library management.
- For even more powerful live streaming solutions and features, you can contact sales to get a custom plan.
If Dacast already sounds like a great option to you, you can check the 30-day free trial to acquaint yourself with the software and see if it fits into your plans.Try Dacast
An All-In-One Video Platform For Enterprises
Brightcove has everything an enterprise might need for managing video content, from live streaming and VOD to video editing and content management. The marketing studio is a particularly robust feature, providing the tools your team needs to produce and promote viral videos.Try Brightcove
With video marketing tools and the ability to do everything from live video streaming to video editing and upload, Brightcove is a one-tool-for-all platform designed to make businesses interact with their audiences and employees.
It’s probably not the best option for hobbyists or solo professionals due to its vast and complex features, but it’s perfect for organizations that want to be able to access all their videos and complete all video-related activities in one place.
- Monetization: Brightcove offers different options to grow revenue, including subscriptions, ads, and transactions.
- Analytics: With one of the company’s tools, Video Cloud, users can track the performance of their videos with data-based insights and advanced analytics.
- Marketing: The Marketing Studio provides user workspaces where marketing personnel can access and utilize several marketing functions and tasks. Analytics and reporting are provided through easy-to-understand dashboards.
- Integrations: Brightcove integrates with numerous third-party tools; CRMs and ecommerce platforms.
- HTML5: The platform provides an open-source HTML5 video player that can be easily tweaked by users. With plugins, customizable UI/UX, and APIs, users can utilize and customize the video player according to their specific preferences.
There are no available pricing models for Brightcove, but you can sign up for a free trial or check the demo before talking to sales about your preferred solutions.Try Brightcove
Powerful Video Streaming Tool For Businesses
Not many platforms can handle 4K video streaming in a robust capacity, and this is where IBM Cloud Video stands out. Supported by multiple CDNs, the tool is built to stream ultra HD videos to a massive audience.Try IBM Cloud Video
IBM Cloud Video is one of the powerful products offered by the digital tech giant, IBM.
It’s a cloud-based tool for businesses that need a robust and scalable end-to-end solution for live streaming.
With the ability to provide online video streams and virtual events as well as video-on-demand, the platform also offers an array of services that help users maximize the revenue-earning potential of their videos such as marketing, analytics, automation, and monetization tools.
- Powerful Live Broadcasting: IBM Cloud Video places no limits on the resolution of videos and it can easily stream full HD videos to very large audiences. Broadcasts are also recorded for later viewing.
- CDNS: With the support of multiple CDNs, the platform can adjust to accommodate wide global viewership as your audience grows (regardless of size), making it a scalable option.
- Automated Captions: There's a feature that utilizes AI to generate automatic and accurate captions for live streams.
- Enterprise Video Library: IBM Cloud Video can be utilized as an intelligent content library and video portal for enterprises. Companies can monitor user access and find videos quickly with AI-assisted video search.
- Custom API and White Labeling: The platform uses flexible APIs that can be used by developers to customize user experience and engagement, interfaces, and even preferred analytics.
- Marketing and Analytics: With access to instant analytics, you can measure the performance of your live streams. You can also make use of features that are targeted to improve conversions, like the ability to place sign-up forms inside the video player for instance.
- Interactions: IBM Cloud Video lets you improve engagement with your audience through interactive features like chat rooms, live polls, and Q & As.
- There's a Silver plan for small businesses that starts at $99 per month. This plan offers HD transcoding of up to 720p and access to 5 channels.
- The Gold plan is billed at $499 per month and it allows access to everything on the Silver plan as well as 10 channels.
- For access to up to 20 channels and 5 terabyte video storage, you would need to purchase the Platinum plan, which is suitable for larger businesses and goes for $999 per month.
- You would have to contact sales to get more robust features such as access to third-party integrations and HD transcoding of 4K videos.
You can start a 30-day free trial to get acquainted with the system and try out its features.Try IBM Cloud Video
4. JW Player
Affordable Online Video Platform For Fast Streaming
JW Player is easily a great option for streaming HD video thanks to its cheap rate and adaptive streaming functionality. The platform provides access to multiple ad avenues and enables header bidding, making it an ideal low-cost way to monetize your video content.Try JW Player
JW Player is an ideal tool for businesses that want a seamless and buffer-free viewing experience for their audience.
The platform optimizes the streaming of HD videos while providing tools that drive viewer engagement and increase revenue through ads.
- HTML5: The HTML5 player delivers a seamless viewing experience for audiences with HLS and DASH adaptive streaming.
- CDNs: JW Player is supported by multiple CDNs, making it capable of transmitting videos to any location. The transcoding supports all formats and resolutions to ensure high-quality viewing for viewers.
- Marketing: There are inbuilt features to increase viewer engagement such as thumbnails and video recommendations.
- Monetization: With integrations that support ad platforms like Google DFP, AdX, SpotX, and Google IMA among others, you can increase ad revenue. There's also a unique solution called Video Player Bidding that allows header bidding in videos.
- White-Labeling: You can tweak the video player to suit your brand identity with CSS customization and flexible APIs.
- Unlike most enterprise streaming platforms, JW Player's Starter plan is very affordable at $10 per month. This plan gives you access to the video player and video gallery.
- To get robust, enterprise features, you would need to contact sales for a custom plan
There's a 30-day free trial to help you get started.Try JW Player
Video Platform For High-Quality Broadcasting
If you're broadcasting to regions that typically have a lower bandwidth or poor internet quality, then Vimeo Livestreaming is an excellent choice thanks to its adaptive live streaming. Add the tight security and customization options, and you have a truly robust live streaming service.Try Vimeo LiveStreaming
Vimeo Livestreaming is one of the solutions offered by the popular video software known as Vimeo.
The cloud-based live streaming platform provides users with high-quality streaming that’s also adaptive. This means your viewers will enjoy uninterrupted streaming even with limited bandwidths.
As a video-oriented service, one of Vimeo’s perks is the level of control it gives users over their streams. Apart from being able to organize and monitor virtual events, you can keep tight control of access to your streams.
- White-Labeling: You can add your own branding and custom graphics to streams from the browser.
- Auto Captions: The platform lets you add automatic closed captions. You can even search for archived streams by using keywords from captions.
- Interactions: Vimeo has features like polls, chats, and moderated Q&A that can be used to interact with audiences during streams.
- Simulcasting: You can simultaneously stream your videos on social platforms like Facebook Live, LinkedIn Live, Youtube Live, and Twitch. This feature is flexible as you can also use it with custom apps.
- Security: With single-sign-on (SSO) authentication and embedded permissions, you can monitor access to streams and keep them secure.
- Analytics and Real-Time Monitoring: Users are provided with analytics for viewer engagement after streams. There’s also a feature that provides live feedback on the performance of streams.
- Pricing for the platform starts with an affordable Plus plan that costs $7 per month billed annually. With this plan, users can white-label as well as control access to streams.
- There are two advanced plans: Pro and Premium. While Pro costs $20 per month for an annual subscription, Premium is billed yearly at $75 per month. Access to unlimited streaming only begins at the Premium level.
- There are two additional plans known as Vimeo Basic and Vimeo Enterprise. While Basic is even cheaper and simpler than Plus, Vimeo Enterprise is the most powerful plan and you can only get it by contacting the sales team.
If you don’t want to make an immediate purchase, you can always start the free trial which lasts for 30 days.Try IBM Cloud Video
Live Streaming Platform For OTT And Multimedia Streaming
If you need a powerful live streaming service provider with vast functionality that can give you the infrastructure of a top-notch streaming service, then Muvi is a great option.
With a wide and powerful array of solutions that include over the top (OTT streaming), robust monetization features, and a smart policy engine, it’s perfect for users who value flexibility and prefer to be open to multiple possibilities with their video streaming.
- White-Labelling and Customization: You get a personal domain as well as your own branded website. There’s also a feature that lets you customize the functionality and feel of the platform to your preference.
- OTT Streaming: Muvi’s VOD functionality supports a range of platforms including Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. You can manage your OTT streams with geo-restrictions and deploy them across multiple devices.
- Monetization: Videos can be monetized with features like video advertising, in-app purchases, coupons, as well as pay-per-view, and subscriptions. Muvi also lets you accept payments in multiple currencies.
- HTML5 player: The HTML5 player is one of Muvi’s solutions. It’s equipped with white-labeling features, advanced player mode, and can work on any screen as well.
- Analytics: Apart from providing in-depth analytics, the platform lets you create custom reports you feel are most ideal for tracking your viewers’ behaviors.
- CDNs: Muvi has an inbuilt CDN that is supported by Amazon Cloudfront. It also has a functionality that lets you integrate your own CDN.
- Marketing: There are inbuilt-SEO tools, integrations with social media apps, the ability to use Whatsapp notifications, as well as customized video recommendations and email notifications.
- Audio Streaming: You can replicate streaming platforms like Spotify with functions that let you upload multiple audio formats, stream on-demand video and live streams, as well as utilize online stores and monetize your audio.
- Muvi’s Standard plan starts at $399 per month. This plan provided white-labeling and monetization features but you have to use the provided CDNs.
- Higher plans like the Professional and Enterprise let you use your own CDN.
- The most robust plan is the Black, which provides a dedicated support team and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous users.
You can enjoy a discount of 15% on all the plans except Black if you pay yearly or you can start with a 14-day free trial.Try Muvi
Video CMS For Professionals, Businesses, And Institutions
As a video content management system, Panopto is designed for hosting and sharing videos within organizations and institutions.
The platform is particularly great for knowledge sharing as it can be used as a learning management system (LMS) solution.
Live streaming is one of the solutions Panopto offers and it makes it available in an easy setup with minimal buffering and high-quality viewing for audiences.
Live streaming events on the platform are ideally lectures, virtual events, and conferences.
- Security: You can restrict and control access to your streams with SSO solutions that include OAuth, SAML, and Active Directory as well as authentication systems.
- Auto Captions: Closed captions are provided on live streams with RTMP live captioning.
- Interactions: You can interact with audiences during streams with comments, notes, and live Q&A. Live streams are also recorded with the comments so viewers can later watch the streams as VOD.
- DVR Controls: Viewers can pause, rewind and replay the streams as well as start from the beginning and catch up with the feed.
- Analytics: Panopto provides real-time monitoring and analytics for streams, letting you gauge viewer engagement and demographics during the live stream.
- Integrations: The platform integrates with learning management systems, hardware video recorders, as well as communication platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
- Monetization: Panopto integrates with a PPV and OTT platform known as InPlayer so users can host videos behind paywalls and receive PPV or subscription-based payments.
- There’s a free Basic plan that allows users to share VODs as well as stream 100 hours per month. This plan would be a great fit for individuals or creators that are just starting out.
- To access unlimited streaming, you would have to buy Panopto Pro, which provides all the features of Basic plus email functionality.
- The bulk of the platform’s features lies in Panopto Enterprise, which has no readily available pricing model.
To get started with Panopto, you can request a free trial before making a purchase.Try Panopto
Live Streaming Platform for Easier Workflow In Enterprises
StreamShark is a live streaming service provider that’s designed with solutions that are ideal for enterprises.
Users get access to cutting-edge features like 360° live streaming and Virtual Reality (VR) compatibility.
A particularly nifty feature for organizations is the streamlined nature and convenient design of the platform’s workflows. The workflows are intuitive, making it easier to operate streams.
- Security: Enterprises need to utilize top-notch security and protection for their streams, and StreamShark makes these available with encrypted streaming and SSO controls.
- White-Labeling: Customizable channels can be created to house on demand shows and live streams.
- Analytics: You can see how viewers are engaging with a live stream with real-time analytics provided by the platform.
- Integrations: Streamshark integrates with social sites like Facebook, Twitch, and Youtube to allow users to simultaneously broadcast and control streams on different platforms.
- P2P Streaming: One of the nifty enterprise features is the ability to bypass central networks and reduce bandwidth load by sharing live content on an organizations’ internal network.
- StreamShark has several monthly plans that start from $199 per month.
- To access enterprise-grade features like 360º streams, SSO support, and P2P streaming, you would have to reach out to sales for a custom plan.
You can start any of the available plans with a free trial.Try StreamShark
Complete And Customizable Video Platform For Enterprises And Specific Industries
One of the attractive features of Kaltura is how engaging and easy-to-use it is for a platform that has so many applications.
Designed to be used by enterprises and organizations in industries like education and media, the video streaming platform is equipped with a wide array of elements that optimize live streaming for marketing, customer relations, education, and entertainment amongst several other functions.
Live streaming is just one of Kaltura’s solutions, as it is by essence, a complete system that also handles video management, LMS functions, as well as communicative mediums like webinars and virtual town hall meetings.
- White-Labeling: There are preset templates that can be easily and fully customized to set up an event for your brand’s label.
- Simplified Workflow: It’s easier to manage stream operations with Kaltura because of the intuitive and simple interface that makes commands associated with live streaming easy to access and use. You can also simultaneously run, compare, and manage separate events from one location.
- Analytics: While real-time analytics is provided during the live streaming, Kaltura also provides metrics for the actions of attendees and audiences from the moment they register for an event as well as for interactions made after the event.
- Security: Access restrictions and protection are afforded with SSO integrations.
- Integrations and SDKs: The platform has very flexible integrations so you can connect with multiple apps or create your own integrations. An even more flexible aspect is the developer access it provides with APIs and SDKs so developers can build their own unique media platforms as well as mobile apps.
- Kaltura has different plans for different applications.
- The Virtual Classroom has a Standard plan that goes at $19 per month and a Pro plan that costs $45 per month.
Many of the other applications, like Virtual Events and Video Portal, require you to contact sales to get a price quote.Try Kaltura
Simple Live Streaming Platform For Social Media Streaming
One thing you’ll enjoy with a live streaming platform like Streamyard is how easy it is to use.
With its intuitive interface and simple commands, people with little to no live streaming experience can work their way around the app and make use of its powerful features.
Streamyard lets you host up to 10 speakers in a single live stream. An added advantage is that guests don’t even have to download the device to join, as they can do through their browser from any device.
You can also swap the guests just like you would if you were the host of a talk show
- White-Labeling: You can brand streams and virtual events with your own logos and colors. Features that can be customized also include the background, banners, overlays, and scrolling tickers. You can also use personalized GIFs.
- Interactions: While you can interact and chat with viewers, Streamyard also lets you show their comments on the screen. You can also invite them to speak as guests during an ongoing stream. There’s a giveaway tool that lets you host giveaway contests as a way to boost interactions.
- Simulcasting: You can simultaneously stream videos on different social media platforms like Facebook Live, LinkedIn Live, YouTube Live, and Twitch. With the RTMP functionality, you can also on any platform or website that supports RTMP
- Recording: While you can record your live streams for later, StreamYard has a way to record every audio file or speech that was created in a live stream. This way, you can easily retrieve audio files separately from previous live streams. You can also choose to record without going live.
- Since it’s quite easy to use and convenient, StreamYard’s Free plan will be quite beneficial for professionals or people who are just starting out.
- The Basic plan plan allows access to features like Multistreaming, RTMP functionality, and white labeling.
- The most premium plan is the Professional, which provides everything in Basic StreamYard plus recordings (audio and video).
To properly enjoy StreamYard’s functionalities, you’d have to purchase a premium plan.Try StreamYard
Full Video Platform for Media Hosting and Live Streams
Live streaming is just one of the solutions provided by Cincopa as it’s a fully-loaded platform that does everything from full media hosting of on-demand video to providing video marketing and monetization tools and analytics.
Essentially, you would find everything you need to host, publish, manage, promote, and broadcast video content in Cincopa.
It’s a very flexible platform as well with an open API so you can work with any of your preferred tools.
For live streaming, the app makes use of live streaming services like Wirecast and OBS.
With access to Passthrough and Transcoded type streaming, you can run events with multiple speakers while making viewing compatible and bug-free for users regardless of their device.
- White Labeling: You can customize your video content and do on-brand video hosting with the HTML5 player.
- Security: With the SSO feature, you can manage and simplify the management of user or staff access and leave access control to a preferred application. You can enable password protection and domain lock to restrict unauthorized viewers or websites from accessing your content.
- Analytics: Analytics is among the richest features of Cincopa as you can monitor real-time analytics of videos as well as view many key demographics and metrics. You can also view video heatmaps that shed more light on how viewers engage with your videos.
- Monetization: With the ability to promote ads and utilize subscription-based payment, you can generate revenue from your videos.
- Marketing: The platform has an in-built SEO functionality that lets you use SEO-friendly features like filling meta-descriptions and generating backlinks. You can also add custom email forms to videos to generate leads.
- Integrations: Cincopa integrates with popular software used by Saas companies. There are easy integrations for tools used for communication, e-commerce, marketing, emails, LMS, automations, as well as sales, and customer support.
- The Plus plan provides access to basic features and a few benefits, like the ability to integrate with a WordPress account, as well as using a landing page.
- With the Corporate plan, the features and integrations become more extensive and you can utilize SEO, access restriction, and marketing automations.
- To enjoy everything Cincopa has to offer, you should go for the Enterprise plan which provides premium features like heatmap analytics and access to unlimited traffic.
Regardless of which plan you choose, you can get started with a 30-day free trial.Try Cincopa
Live Streaming Platform for Social Media Engagement
If your primary focus is a live streaming platform that lets you interact with your audience on social media, then you can’t go wrong with Restream.
It’s an easy-to-use tool that lets you brand your streams and broadcast them simultaneously on several platforms.
You can also invite guests to speak and add interactive features to your streams like CTAs and chats.
- Multistreaming: With Restream, you can broadcast your streams to more than 30 social platforms. You can also set automatic alerts for your audiences on apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Discord.
- Interactions: One particularly nifty feature that users will enjoy is the ability to view and interact with all the chats coming in from different social media platforms in one place.
- White-Labeling: Overlays, backgrounds, and logos can be applied to create on-brand video content. Chat rooms and boxes can also be customized with themes.
- Video Analytics: Essential metrics and demographics can be viewed through interactive dashboards. The platform also captures finer details like what parts of the stream were watched the most and what the most active comments were.
- There’s a Free plan equipped with basic features like multistreaming and unlimited streaming minutes. This plan might be ideal for social media enthusiasts or professionals who are just getting started.
- For better features like white-labeling and the ability to record streams for 6 hours, users would have to subscribe to the Standard plan.
- There are bigger plans like the Premium and Business with even more advanced and technical features. These plans are suitable for companies and enterprises.
Businesses can get started with the recommended Professional plan to enjoy Restream’s premium features.Try Restream
Live Streaming Platform For Adaptive And Uninterrupted Streaming
A unique feature of Resi is that it’s built to keep on streaming even in cases of a terrible network or network outage.
With its one-of-a-kind and patented technology called Resilient Streaming Protocol (RSP), the platform will continue to broadcast live videos despite temporary network interruptions.
This technology helps viewers avoid frustrations like buffering, lags, and loss of video quality.
The live streaming solution is equipped with streaming technology like MPEG-DASH and HLS, letting viewers access uninterrupted streaming regardless of which device they’re using.
- Automations: Resi makes the live streaming process easier by handling most of the functions required to set up a virtual event. Events can be scheduled to stream live automatically.
- Social Media Streaming: 1080p video can be transmitted to social sites like Youtube and Facebook. Conveniently, the resilient streaming technology is also applied to these transmissions so viewers on those sites can watch good quality videos regardless of network quality.
- Adaptive Streaming: Apart from resilient streaming that prevents buffering, Resi also provides cloud transcoding to transform high-quality live videos into several bitrate qualities. This way, viewers can pick the best viewing quality that matches their available bandwidth.
There are no readily available pricing models or information for Resi, so interested users should try out the demo first before talking to sales about their preferred plan.Try Resi
Low Latency Streaming Platform For Real-Time Broadcasting
Live streaming professionals and engineers know that there are various levels of streaming.
Some streams with HLS and MPEG-DASH technology might take up to 45 seconds before being broadcast from streamer to viewer. Other streams might take up to or less than 18 seconds.
Low-latency streaming, which uses low latency HLS technology will take less than 5 seconds for transmission onto viewers’ screens.
Wowza not only provides low latency streaming functionalities but also uses WebRTC technology to provide video that is broadcast in real-time, meaning it transmits in a second or less.
- VOD: Users can create an online content gallery to house video-on-demand content. Videos can be streamed to any device and playlists can be created as well.
- Interactions: Virtual events can be configured to enable chatting with viewers. Two-way live streams are also accessible.
- Security: With options like password protection, digital rights management, and SSL and Streamlock encryption, you can encrypt and protect your online content and streams.
- Monetization: Ads can be applied to on-demand content as a way of monetizing.
- Integrations: The software can be integrated with a number of tools to generate more functionalities like closed captions, automations, and even increased security.
- Multistreaming: You can stream to multiple sites simultaneously while controlling the broadcast from one interface. Apart from social sites like Facebook and Youtube, you can stream to custom sites and platforms using RTMP technology.
- Wowza offers two services in form of Wowza Streaming Cloud and Wowza Streaming Engine.
- Wowza Streaming Cloud, which has flexible functionality and provides WebRTC functionality, has plans that start at $25 per month.
- Wowza Streaming Engine is the downloadable software with more robust functionality so it’s well-suited for large-scale businesses and enterprises.
You can sign up for a 30-day free trial that applies for Wowza Streaming Cloud. Users interested in the downloadable software can also apply for a free trial.Try Wowza
Best Social Video Streaming Platforms
Several popular social sites that are used for online videos stream also provide live streaming services.
While these sites do not have live streaming platform focused functionalities, they can be used to garner a loyal following and build brand awareness.
Because social media is already an extremely popular medium and billions of users around the world already use these platforms, it’s usually easier to reach out to an audience and gain their trust.
A great advantage of social streaming platforms is that most of them are free.
Since they’re consumer-oriented platforms that lack the functionalities of a professional live-streaming service provider, they’re more suited for influencers and some small businesses than they are for SMBs and enterprises.
Here are some of the social video streaming platforms you can consider:
15. YouTube Live
Since its inception, Youtube has grown to be one of the most popular sites for online video streams.
As of 2021, the site could boast of more than 122 million daily active users. With such a volume of activity, Youtube Live is a good opportunity for influencers and marketers to tap into an ever-growing market of consumers.
Bear in mind that Youtube does have restrictions that are not ideal for live streaming for businesses or on a professional level.
For instance, there are very few ways to monetize, and tools that would normally be present in live streaming platforms are not as accessible.
Note that Youtube Live is different from Youtube TV, the TV broadcast service that streams content from television and regional sports networks.
That said, there are a few advantageous aspects of Youtube Live. For one, it’s free, and it can also be used on mobile devices.
- VOD: Youtube supports both on demand video and live streaming video but it’s more primed for on-demand content, with Youtube Live being a relatively new solution that was only launched in 2011.
- Encoder Streaming: With encoder streaming functionalities available on Youtube Live, you can broadcast gameplay (for gamers), share your screen, connect to external hardware and manage live streams with multiple cameras and microphones.
- Interactions: Naturally, streamers and viewers can interact through chat functionality, but Youtube Live takes it further by providing live chat moderation tools.
- Monetization: To access YouTube Live’s monetization tools, you need to be part of the Youtube Partner Program. Functionalities include ads and channel memberships. The feature is not available for all countries, however.
- While Youtube Live is free, it does offer some advanced features for users who join its Youtube Partner Program (YPP).
- Joining the YPP doesn’t require payment, but you do have to meet a few requirements, such as having your Adsense account linked to your Youtube, gaining at least 1000 subscribers, and generally following Youtube’s content guidelines.
Dailymotion has been called the French Youtube due to its vast accessibility and usage. Available in 183 languages and having 250 million monthly users as of 2021, its potential to garner massive audiences is quite high.
Like Youtube Live, Dailymotion is free, but this also means that it’s not as equipped with business-oriented tools as many professional video streaming services.
One advantage of the platform is that it’s not as restrictive as Youtube Live when it comes to video content.
- Monetization: With the ability to apply commercial breaks within events and publish ads, Dailymotion’s monetization capabilities are useful.
- Analytics: Apart from monitoring real-time analytics, users can generate custom reports and create their preferred metrics to track through the platform’s API. The drawback is that this feature is a bit technical and can only be used by Dailymotion’s verified partners.
- Encoder Streaming: This feature provides ideal streaming capabilities like unlimited live streaming of 4K HD content.
- White-Labeling: Unlike other platforms like Youtube, Dailymotion offers to let users customize their HTML5 video player’s interface to match that of their brands’. You can include your logo and customize the user interface with your brand’s colors.
- Dailymotion is free and several of its video hosting and streaming resources like the encoding, HTML5 player and the video management system are accessible for all users.
To get advanced features like real-time analytics and ad-targeting, however, users have to apply for an Advanced Partner Account.Try Dailymotion
17. Facebook Live
Facebook Live is one of the features provided by the social media giant, Facebook, now known as Meta.
It remains a simple, easy-to-use service for users to live stream directly to their Facebook audience.
By its consumer-oriented nature, Facebook Live is a far cry from the functionalities and resources of professional live streaming service providers. But it does offer features that benefit influencers, small businesses, and even non-profits.
Moreso, Facebook marketing is a powerful marketing strategy for improving brand awareness and revenue for businesses, and Facebook Live can be a very effective cog in that strategy.
- Interactions: With Facebook Live, you can create live polls, highlight top fans, moderate the comment section, and give badges to fans who provide the most interactions.
- Monetizations: In an ingenious move, Facebook Live allows businesses to feature their product listings during a live stream. Viewers can purchase products directly from the live stream with Facebook Live’s checkout tool. Money can also be made through fan subscriptions and a feature called “Stars,” where each star received equals $0.01.
- Marketing and Promotions: You can promote streams to Facebook stories to reach more audiences. Links to a website or app can be featured on live streams for viewers to click.
- Analytics: Facebook Live has an analytics tool that captures useful metrics for views, demographics, watch time, and interactions.
- Security: Users can place viewer restrictions on their live streams based on demographics like age and location.
- Donations: This feature helps non-profits and individuals raise money by adding a “Donate” CTA button to the live stream.
- Facebook Live is free, and you can access the best of the service using a creator or business account.
- You would have to sign up as a non-profit to access donations
18. Instagram Live
With 500 million daily active users, Instagram has massive potential as a social media platform for garnering a huge following.
The catch though is that it’s not very suitable for video hosting and like most social media platforms, its live-streaming features are not as robust as business-oriented platforms.
However, Instagram is constantly equipping its live streaming service with features that benefit marketers and businesses.
You can’t host VOD, and you can’t live stream for more than four hours, but there are several nifty ways to promote your event and connect with your audience.
- Interactions: There are several ways to engage with your audience on Instagram Live: you can send direct messages, share questions, invite co-hosts, share a video or picture and even slideshows on-screen, apply filters, and add comments to the live stream.
- Scheduling and Promotions: Live events can be scheduled up to 90 days in advance, giving you more time to promote your event with features like reminders and countdowns through your Instagram stories.
- Customizations: White-labeling features are not as robust, but Instagram Live does provide the avenue to use branded templates and colors.
- Analytics: With Audience Insights and Later Analytics, you can view insights based on demographics and audience activity. These can be useful for planning and optimizing your events.
- Practice Mode: It’s a nifty feature that allows you to test your live stream before broadcasting.
- Monetizations: One way to get paid through Instagram Live is by turning on something called Badges that viewers can purchase. Badges can be purchased in increments of $1, $2, and $5. You do have to be eligible as a creator (i.e be 18+ and have at least 10 thousand followers) to access this feature.
Instagram’s features are free for all users.Try Instagram Live
Thanks to viral short video clips, TikTok has experienced rapid growth to become one of the most used video-sharing sites in the world .
With one billion monthly active users, the social media platform has been embraced by marketers and small business entrepreneurs who recognize its potential to promote their business.
It’s very possible to go viral on the platform and so businesses who use it strategically can garner the huge conversions they need.
- Interactions: TikTok thrives on connecting people, so the live streams are equipped with interactive features. Streamers can interact with viewers with live Q&A sessions, assign moderators, filter comments, and go live with another host.
- Scheduling and Promotions: Live events can be scheduled and hype before the d-day. As a way to promote businesses and creators, TikTok also recommends top live streams to audiences.
- Monetizations: While TikTok’s ability to garner conversions and awareness for brands through creative ads is useful, the only direct monetization feature for live streams is the use of Gifts. When you set up Gifts, viewers can react to your live stream and give you Diamonds, which you can then redeem for money.
- Recordings: Live streams can be recorded to be used later for other purposes.
TikTok’s features are free.Try TikTok Live
Twitch is a social platform that is primarily engineered for live streaming, especially for video gamers.
The streaming service does have a few other creative niches but you should note that most of the creators and viewers on Twitch are video game fans and esports enthusiasts.
However, with 140 million active users, this doesn't mean you can't find your own niche, especially if it's something fun and creative like talk shows or travel and food-related shows.
Because it’s essentially a livestream platform, Twitch is a bit more equipped for live videos than most social platforms.
The video monetization features, for instance, are more robust.
- Interactions: Interactive features include the ability to comment, filter offensive phrases, ask questions, and make suggestions.
- Monetizations: By becoming a Twitch Partner or Affiliate, users can access the platform’s monetization features which include video ads, paid subscriptions for channels and prime video, badges that can be exchanged for money, and Bits, which are essentially micro-donations. Users also earn 5% of the revenue made from games sold through their profiles.
- White-Labeling: Twitch lets creators customize their streams with branded designs.
- Recordings: Live videos can be recorded and used later.
- While there are premium memberships like Twitch Prime and Twitch Turbo, which provides ad free streaming for viewers, they don’t apply to streamers as becoming a Twitch creator is free.
- To monetize content, you have to become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner. This requires no payment but some criteria have to be met.
- Prospective Twitch Affiliates need to have at least 50 followers, 500 minutes total broadcast, and at least three consistent viewers.
21. LinkedIn Live
As a platform focused on connecting professionals and businesses, LinkedIn is a prime space for B2B businesses, marketers, entrepreneurs, and executives.
LinkedIn Live is a relatively new feature of the platform so it’s still quite simple in functionality.
Users have to use a third-party broadcasting studio like Switcher Studio or Restream to set up their live events.
- Interactions: Viewers can interact with hosts on LinkedIn Live through comments and reactions during virtual events. Events can also be set up to interview guests and users can gain specific information by leveraging the Q&A feature.
- Promotions: Events can be scheduled in advance and then promoted using LinkedIn’s professional network.
- While LinkedIn Live’s features are free to use, the third-party tools required to broadcast your streams may not be free.
You have to apply to be able to use LinkedIn Live’s features, as the service is not immediately available to all users. To have a chance of gaining access to LinkedIn Live, you have to have more than 150 followers and be active with original video content on your profile as proof.Try Linkedin Live
Key Features to Consider When Comparing Live Streaming Platforms
When it comes to picking one of the best live streaming platforms, it pays to focus on what your business needs and not just what the platform has to offer.
While the best live streaming services are equipped with robust functionality, there’s no one-size-fits-all. What works best for some businesses or professionals might not work for you.
Some platforms might be engineered and high-priced for VOD streaming and powerful live channel broadcasting while all you need are webinars and virtual town halls.
As a result, when making your live streaming platform comparison, you have to keep in mind the specific live streaming solutions that your business needs as well as the features that match those solutions.
Here are some of the key features to look out for when comparing the best live streaming platforms:
As a professional business, it’s vital that you should be able to showcase your brand.
Having a visible brand identity on your live stream creates a mental association with your audience that helps build brand awareness.
Barring social platforms or social media sites, standard live streaming services should let you customize the video player and live stream so you can publish and broadcast on-brand.
2. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
A content delivery network is a network of data centers and servers that provide and determine the quality of live streams.
Live streaming platforms work with CDNs to deliver high-quality, uninterrupted streaming to their users’ viewers.
Depending on the strength of the CDN(s) a streaming platform employs, you can be guaranteed that your viewers wouldn’t be frustrated with buffering or lagging issues.
When it comes to professional live streaming, you need security and authentication features to protect your broadcast and content from compromise and unwanted access.
Look for features like HLS encryption, password-protected hosting, and single sign-on (SSO) authentication in your preferred streaming service.
You also need to be able to control your employees’ access to the platform, so check that such permission controls are available.
Some live streaming platforms are more primed for interactions than others, so you have to check for interactive features, especially if you’re a business that thrives on engaging with your audience.
Apart from basic live chat features, some tools let you host live polls and Q&As. Others like StreamYard even let you organize give-away contests during live streams.
5. Video Analytics
You need detailed insights on how your live events are performing as well as your audience engagement, and for this purpose, you need live streaming platforms that can provide advanced video analytics.
It's a key functionality of professional broadcasting tools to provide metrics that track how your audience engaged and interacted with your stream. You should be able to view information based on demographics and audience behavior.
Some tools let you track the real-time performance of your live stream. Others even let you create your own custom metrics to be tracked.
While this feature might not be pursued by all businesses, it’s certainly a key and very beneficial aspect of video streaming.
Video monetization is especially important for companies that want to host and stream VOD content.
It’s also sought after by professionals and enthusiasts who want to make money from their passion and popularity.
Live streaming platforms that afford monetization will often provide options like paid subscriptions for a prime video channel, in-video ads, and pay-per-views.
Live Streaming Statistics
Live streaming is a growing space and there are several statistics that prove this.
Over the years, more businesses and brands have begun to adopt live streaming platforms as essential video tools.
They recognize the impact live communication with their audience has on their marketing efforts and brand growth.
Here are some statistics that prove just how fast and far live streaming is expected to grow:
- The live streaming market is expected to reach $223.98 billion by 2028. FindStack 2019.
- Multistreaming will be a big part of live streaming by 2022, as more live streaming services adopt multistreaming as a feature. Dacast 2022.
- The live streaming industry experienced 99% growth between April 2019 and April 2020. Techjury 2019.
- Audiences are more attentive to live videos, with live streamed content capturing viewers’ attention for 27% longer than on-demand videos. Influencer Marketing Hub 2020.
- Live video campaigns are twice as engaging as influencer marketing when it comes to video. Rhythm One 2019.
- 80% of people would rather watch a live stream from a brand than read their blog posts. Techjury 2019.
- 52% of people who watch live streams would rather watch ads than pay for a subscription. Techjury 2019.
- Two-thirds of B2C marketers use live streaming as a marketing strategy. Content Marketing Institute 2020.
Live Video Streaming FAQ
Once you've decided that live streaming is the next best step and you're already sure of what goals you're trying to accomplish, you have to choose the right live streaming platform for your business.
It's a basic step you have to take to ensure your streaming journey is as unproblematic and effective as possible.
Once you've chosen the right solution, you can then set it up. You can integrate your chosen platform with your in-house tools if you're an SMB or enterprise using professional live video streaming services.
The platforms would provide instructions on how to set up their system or integrate.
There are a few things you need to have in place before you can start streaming. These include:
– Video and Audio Sources: your hardware equipment; cameras, microphones, computers, mobile devices, tablets, mixers, that will produce and transmit your live video and audio feeds.
– A Video Encoder: This essentially captures your audio-video signal and translates it into a format the internet understands.
– A Reliable Internet Connection: You also need your connection to be stable to avoid being disconnected or frustrated with buffering and freezing.
– A Streaming Destination: These are the platforms or sites on which your live stream is displayed. They include popular social sites like LinkedIn Live, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live.
If you're an influencer, enthusiast, or solo entrepreneur, you can make do with minimal equipment like your smartphone and tablet.
Of course, the camera quality of your mobile device has to be top-notch. You want something that can give you 12-megapixel quality and capture 1080p and even 4K video.
There are also beginner live streaming cameras like Mevo or GoPro Hero that you can use as video sources.
Professional live streaming will require standard cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX GH4 and Canon XA15.
If you're not on a budget and you want the best video cameras suitable for broadcast, you can check camcorders like the Panasonic HC-X2000 or the Canon XA50 XA55.
When it comes to audio, you definitely want to use a microphone, as the inbuilt microphones in cameras, mobile devices, and computers are usually not up to par.
Beginner microphones you can consider include Rode VideoMic and Yeti Nano USB mic.
For advanced streaming, you want standard microphones like Lavalier mics or handheld mics like the Shure SM58s.
Your need for a capture card depends on whether you're using a software or hardware encoder.
Hardware encoders come with internal capture cards so you don't need one if you're using them.
You also can do without a capture card if you're using a USB camera or microphone that can be plugged directly into your computer. Capture cards may become important when you're using software encoders.
One thing to note about capture cards, you have to select one that is compatible with your streaming service as various platforms do not support all capture cards.
A couple of the best capture cards you can consider include the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, Razer Ripsaw HD, and the EVGA XR1.
Encoders are essential equipment as you can't stream live without them, whether they're inbuilt, software, or external.
Software encoders include streaming tools like Wirecast, OBS Studio, and vMix. Examples of hardware encoders are LiveU and Pearl Mini.
Hardware encoders come in different sizes. More often than not, the size might be an indicator of the level of power and functionality.
Smaller encoders like Webcaster X2 can only manage one or two video sources. Bigger, more powerful encoders include the Cerevo LiveShell X Digital HD and Pearl-2.
You shouldn't stream without proper lighting, so you need a source of light, whether it's natural or artificial.
For beginners, if sunlight isn't available, then a ring light would do just fine.
A more advanced approach to lighting would be a three-point light kit. This kit consists of a key light, a fill light, and a backlight.
You may or may not need a switcher depending on the complexity of your studio and online video stream.
If you're using more than one video and audio source, like two or more cameras with different feeds, then you need a switcher to capture and switch between the feeds for you.
Switchers also come in handy if you want to show graphics and presentations in your live stream.
This depends on a few factors: what your goal for live streaming is, your budget, and the nature and size of your business or career; if you're an influencer, professional live streamer, or a company.
For influencers and solo business entrepreneurs just starting out, basic equipment like your phone camera or even your inbuilt computer webcam, free streaming software, and a good internet connection are enough for you to start streaming.
If you already have a phone camera or computer and an internet connection, the combination of this equipment shouldn't be more than $50 as you can get simple microphones like the Mosotech lavalier mic for not much more than $15.
Professional live streamers, like gamers, for instance, might need to spend $200 or a little more to set up for a start.
Small businesses that are using live streaming as a part of their marketing don't necessarily have to break the bank for quality live videos.
Enterprises that are looking to broadcast to massive audiences and employ powerful live production capabilities will obviously have budgets ranging in four figures and upwards.
In a nutshell, a lot. It's important, however, to note that the ones who make the most money from live streaming are those who have an independent platform.
Some professional live streamers who use social platforms like YouTube or Twitch make a lot of money. For instance, some YouTubers make millions yearly.
While that's impressive, streamers that break into their own independent live streaming service have the potential to earn even more. Many of them make an average of $5000 per month.
The reason for this is simple: the monetization options offered by social platforms aren't just as great as those of the best streaming platforms.
Which Live Streaming Service Should I Choose?
The answer to this question depends on your requirements and what exactly you’re setting out to do.
If you simply want to garner a huge following and become an influencer or marketer, social platforms like Youtube Live, Instagram Live, LinkedIn Live, and Facebook Live would be ideal.
Twitch remains the best platform for gamers, and it’s also a fantastic option for esports live streamers.
For independent streaming, robust live streaming platforms like Brightcove with all-around, powerful functionalities are perfect for enterprises.
More affordable and scalable live video streaming services like Vimeo are a better fit for SMBs and professionals.
One tool that can be recommended to any growing business in any sector is Dacast. It’s powerful enough to host enterprise on demand content and broadcast live channels, but also simple, affordable, and scalable enough that small businesses can adopt it.